String theory

Einstein violin sells for over $500k at New York auction

Instrument fetches more than three times its estimate; was gifted to the celebrated physicist when he arrived in the US

Albert Einstein is shown playing the violin, date and location unknown (AP Photo)
Albert Einstein is shown playing the violin, date and location unknown (AP Photo)

A violin once owned by Albert Einstein was sold at a New York auction house over the weekend for $516,500.

The instrument was sold for more than three times its catalog estimate of $150,000.

According to a report in string instrument magazine The Strad on Monday, the violin was gifted to Einstein by a member of the Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Symphony Orchestra upon his arrival in the US in 1933.

The famed physicist was known for his love of the instrument, which he had been playing regularly since age 6.

Einstein later passed the instrument on to the son of a janitor at Princeton University, where he was a resident scholar. The violin had remained with the family ever since.

Last week a letter penned by the Nobel Prize winner in which he discussed one of his groundbreaking theories sold in Jerusalem for over $100,000 as part of a trove of documents that went under the hammer.

That sum — while large — pales in comparison to the $1.56 million that one purchaser paid for a letter from Einstein on the secret of happiness at a Jerusalem auction in October after it was initially valued at some $8,000.

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